Romance-s draws on the experience of being in love in order to create a dance piece in which the territory of the couple and that of the dance are surveyed and measured these areas being destined to become interwoven and transformed as they are explored and questioned.
The plural,as it is clearly and unusually presented in the title, proclaims the universal character of the subject : romance( a Spanish poem in octosyllabic verses,but also a sentimental song that is both naive and moving) evokes that which is common to every love story reinventing the commonplace with absolute sincerity. It is evident that interaction or dialogue with the audience is most important here, hence the commitment of the choreographers to this end in their shared space.
The plural gives rise to a host of perceptions featured in the piece:in fact the choreography goes beyond mimesis to reach buried sensory zones, like a sleeping memory.
It is trousers and tee-shirt forLaurence Yadi and Nicolas Cantillon : both in black,both in the same outfit so that the polarities of gender are at once erased and emphasized.This decision concerning costume stylizes the silhouette and focuses attention on the hands and faces, both essential centers of expression. The lines of the movement create a succession of motifs, a paradigm of the couple with variations of intensity.
They face each other, impassive, center stage and suddenly emit a silent cry, a cry which is nevertheless deafening, a mutual utterance which immediately places the couple in a state of unease. During the beginning scene, they do not take their eyes off each other;indeed throughout the piece, they continue to gaze fixedly at one another. This permanent gaze renders the space all the more dramatic as it intensifies the distance between the two bodies, as if distance was no other than deferred proximity. This stare locks the piece in the present moment accentuated by a slowed down body language which allows for a flow of movement with seismographic precision. This produces the effect of the expansion of time which in turn increases the tension.
As the bodies circle each other, provoke each other, they yield in a continuous flow so that now one now the other is the antagonist contact/separation,embracing/inflicting pain,self confidence/awkwardness, support/faltering... It is always the body of one that sets in motion the body of the other in a subtle interaction where the balance of power continually shifts. At times it seems that the dancers alternate between the roles of prey and predator, struggling for survival and defending their territory. The slow theatrical pace of certain gestures evokes martial arts dominated by tension. There are also the hints of a slow couples dance-an instant of abandon,embrace ingenuousness. There are also traces of romantic classical ballet-arabesques and lifts which place the piece in a genealogy which at once shows the beauty of the ideal (in love and dance) and at the same time a connection with gravity which drags the body towards the ground, a return to the here and now. Gravity, a perpetual destiny to conquer, as Blanchard states, is one of the dominant forces of the piece. Each dancer is subject to the weight of the other, whether as a cross to bear or as a dead weight, offering the possibility of inventing ways to support one another. Thus the space becomes dynamic, full of potential for innovation.
All these micro experiments become stronger and intensify in a kind of flamenco reinterpreted by the choreographers. As much a taking up of arms as sexual jousting, The dance returns to archaic origins in which the slightest false move could prove fatal as it shatters the equilibrium of the forces in play. Flamenco does not treat love lightly.It is rather a promise of fusion in the course of the dance of feverish bodies : Lifts,embraces,hopeless tangles allow for a flow of movement, a magnetic current (the project of J. Cassavetes comes to mind in Love Streams) so that the bodies in fact at times have the properties of magnets brought to the point of spasm. Sometimes the hand holds of the couple are immobile at once seizing up and resisting in a state of extreme tension which is nonetheless a connection.
The bodies separate a little further. Nicolas Cantillon leaves the stage and Laurence Yadi allows the audience to view a body where mindful tension slows down time and gives a texture to the space as we become a part of her internal journey. And it is as if the return of Nicolas is in fact an extension of this journey, as if the denouement can only be a knot which re-forms.
Romance-s is a study of bodies and the space between them, a space common to both love and the dance.What is this body that I love? What is this body with which I dance? What are the various states in which this body finds itself ? What does it tell me about my own body?To each audience member the opportunity for personal exploration.
Translation : Angela Bennett and Miriam Rother